Whilst on a call with my colleagues yesterday, we were discussing our “Take Charge” program, just after I had explained that I would be away for a week because our son is moving out of home! It suddenly struck me that I had been unconsciously teaching our son to “Take Charge” of his career.
Although this might be a frightening time for us as his parents, it is an exciting and a necessary part of life for him. We must trust that the things that we have said have sunk in….. We must have spoken to him a million times about attitude. Attitude is the most important factor in anyone’s success. Whilst he was in his younger teenage years; I am convinced that he didn’t hear a word that we were saying. However, now that he has been in full time employment for nearly a year, he returns after a long day’s work saying things like “I just don’t understand their attitude” or “His attitude is terrible, I think they’re going to ask him to leave”.
Work ethic is something my family is not short of. My father has always been a great example to me and our children of being prepared to “dig in”. No matter what the task, he gets stuck in, even if he has never done it before. My husband and I have taught our children that perseverance, determination and plain old hard work will take you further than you think. As for our son, that is definitely a trait that we have seen in him since he started working. He currently works two jobs, quite a tough physical job 8:30am to 6:00pm and then he delivers Pizza from 6pm-10pm, sometimes five days but mostly six days a week.
Wearing more and more hats in my life beginning with being a daughter, then a student, then employee, wife, manager, mother, business owner, etc etc…. I have learnt that flexibility is a very good skill to have! Being willing and able to adapt from one task to another and back again quickly, definitely has its benefits. Our son has had to learn to be flexible with the things that he has been tasked with at work, but he has also had to be flexible about where he goes. The course that he wants to do isn’t run at most places, in fact there were only 2 colleges he could find that did the course. He wanted to rent a place of his own, but for financial reasons he has accepted that he will have to rent a room from someone else for a while. I think flexibility is a skill that is learnt over time, not something that comes naturally.
Our son had already completed 2 years of college and has his qualifications, why would he give up his well-paid full time job to do another 2 years of education? Reflection is something I use with my children often, when they find something difficult to do or when they question their future, I tell them to reflect on their past achievements and successes. This helps them to see how far they have come. “You’ve done it before, you can do it again” I tell them. I like to think that he had taken some time to reflect on what he had achieved, and then thought more about what he would like to achieve in his future.
Maybe self-awareness doesn’t apply much in our son’s case, not yet anyway, it is important to know which environments you perform best in and what your top skills are. Ask others for feedback to learn more about how others view you. What could you improve? What can you do to close any knowledge gaps? I talk to him about these things and over time I am sure that he will apply them into his life.
The one thing that many of us struggle with, including our son, is self-belief. Peer pressure at school is something that definitely affected him. It is taking time, but he is aware of it and is working on it. However, we are all bombarded by opinions, views, perspectives, especially now with the social media and experts giving contradictory advice. I think that it is important to turn the volume down of all these voices and listen to your inner voice; it is not easy, but it is possible.
I love quotes, this one sums it up for me today:-
“If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you will see obstacles.” – Wayne Dyer